Just Determined: Doubts Raised About Kia Soul EV Range
Fuel economy numbers have been a problem in the past for Kia and Hyundai, owned by the same parent company. In November 2012, the two automakers confessed to overstating fuel economy numbers to the tune of 900,000 vehicles and made payments to owners.
Ironically, according to a CNN.com story, the vehicle singled out for the most-inflated fuel economy numbers was the Kia Soul. It had its highway fuel economy numbers dropped 16% from 35 mpg down to 29 mpg. Still a good number but not quite as good as first claimed.
Now Brad Berman, writing at plugincars.com, says, "It looks like Kia has fallen into the trap of over-promising range—based on its announcement that the size of the battery pack will be 27 kilowatt-hours. The 2014 Kia Soul EV is more likely to deliver real-world range of between 90 and 100 miles."
Berman is basing his estimates on a energy production formula for electric vehicles. "I rely on a general rule of thumb that places average efficiency of an EV—which is vastly more efficient than a gas-powered internal combustion car—at 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour. That would mean 94.5 miles of range on the Soul’s 27 kWh pack," he wrote.
There's also the problem of the Kia Soul EV's design. In an earlier article, I faulted it for not looking enough like an electric vehicle to attract the relatively small segment of the auto-buying population that is willing to make a break from the gas pump. Berman says the Soul EV also is going to suffer from not being aerodynamic enough to achieve full efficiencies.
But, and this is an interesting observation, the folks at plugincars.com feel the design might actually help the Kia sell more of the Soul Electric Vehicles because younger drivers find it more appealing. In my opinion, that's not necessarily going to be the case. The average age of a Kia Soul buyer is 48. The hamster campaign is credited with dropping that age from 50.
It's still going to be older drivers buying the Kia Soul Electric Vehicle because the average age of any new car buyer is still in the high 40s. Having said that, I agree with plugincars.com that Kia is going to be more realistic going forward on its mileage claims if it wants to attract happy buyers.